Executive Director Announces Retirement

Patricia Weitzel-O'Neill, executive director of the Barbara and Patrick Roche Center for Catholic Education for the past nine years, and a nationally recognized leader in Catholic education, announced she will retire from her post effective July 31, 2019.

Dr. Weitzel-O'Neill, the former superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Washington (D.C.), and a former vice president for academic affairs at Trinity Washington University (TWU), has lead Boston College’s Roche Center for Catholic Education, an affiliated center within the Lynch School of Education and Human Development and Human Development, since July 2010.

"Patricia Weitzel-O'Neill has made enormous contributions to the Roche Center and Boston College over the past decade," said Stanton E.F. Wortham, the Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean of the Lynch School of Education and Human Development and Human Development, who will serve as interim director of the Center until a new Executive Director is appointed.  "She has worked collaboratively to create a center which is a catalyst for transformative Catholic education and applied research. Her vision, experience, and professional networks, have allowed her to move the Roche Center forward and position BC as a leader in Catholic education."

 “I am very grateful to the Roche family, for their vision, insight and unprecedented support in establishing this Center, which has permitted and encouraged this professional team to grow and advance transformative initiatives serving Catholic schools across the nation and to expand the role of Boston College as a leader for excellence and equity and faith formation in Catholic education. I am also thankful for the privilege of working with outstanding colleagues in the center, the Lynch School, colleagues across campus and at other Catholic Institutions of Higher Education as well as the many school leaders in our programs and in the Archdiocese of Boston,” said Dr. Weitzel-O'Neill.

Founded in 2007, the Roche Center is named for the late Patrick E. Roche `51, H `01, co-founder of the Wellesley, Mass.-based Roche Brothers supermarket chain, and his wife, Barbara, who donated a $20-million endowment to the center in 2010. The center is committed to being a catalyst for transformative Catholic education

At Boston College, Weitzel-O’Neill  co-founded (2012) the Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools, (TWIN-CS)  which supports the implementation and assessment of dual-language immersion models in Catholic schools throughout the U.S., and since 2012, she has overseen  the development of the Emmaus Leadership Series, with collaborative contributions from the Lynch School, the School of Theology and Ministry (STM), and the Carroll School of Management. This national cohort program provides executive Catholic leadership development for Catholic school presidents, principals, and heads of school to strengthen them for the demands of today's education leadership.

Weitzel-O'Neill is the 2017 recipient of the National Catholic Educational Association's C. Alfred Koob Presidential Merit Award for distinguished service to Catholic education. The NCEA is a private, professional educational membership association of over 200,000 educators in Catholic schools, universities, and religious education programs.

She is a co-author with STM's Hosffman Ospino of the report Catholic Schools in an Increasingly Hispanic Church (2016), based on the first National Survey of Catholic Schools Serving Hispanic Families. Also, In 2016, she and Dr. Ospino hosted the first-ever National Summit on Catholic Schools and Hispanic Families, engaging 200 recognized national thought leaders in focused conversations.

Additionally, she is a co-editor of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (2012), which have been adopted nationally and implemented at the both the school, diocesan and state levels. With co-editor Dr. Lorraine Ozar of Loyola University Chicago, she continues the work focusing on research, publications and new digital resources. As an advocate, she serves on multiple boards, including the Governing Board for the Journal of Catholic Education and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University.

During her eight-year tenure as the Archdiocese of Washington superintendent, she was responsible for 29,000 students in 96 early learning, elementary and secondary schools, the largest non-public school system in the area.  She was credited with strengthening the schools' academic programs, introducing a standards-based curriculum, and enhancing professional development standards.  Additionally, she was instrumental in efforts to secure the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, a federally funded initiative that continues to enable thousands of low income children to attend non-public schools in Washington DC. 

Prior to her appointment as vice president of academic affairs at TWU, she served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and an associate professor of Sociology.  She is a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University, West Virginia and she earned a M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from St. Louis University.